Cranial asymmetries due to nonsynostotic deformation of the skull have been reported with increasing frequency during the last decade. Conservative approaches using helmets and physiotherapy have been shown to be effective in their treatment. Traditionally, documentation has been carried out using anthropometric caliper measurements. The present study evaluates the use of a new three-dimensional photographic system in the improved validation of changes in head deformities. This prospective analysis introduces a new technique for digital anthropometric measurement.
The study series comprised 181 children with nonsynostotic head deformities. Three-dimensional photographs were obtained before and after treatment with an orthotic helmet device. The oblique head diagonals and head width and length were measured from three-dimensional photographs using 3dMD customer software. The cranial vault asymmetry index, cranial vault asymmetry, and cranial index were compared before and after treatment.
The measurements obtained on three-dimensional images were able to demonstrate significant improvement in early infant cranial deformity after treatment with an orthotic helmet. The cranial vault asymmetry index in plagiocephaly was reduced by 7.16%, and cranial vault asymmetry was reduced by 0.86 cm. The cranial index in brachycephaly decreased by 7.32%. In children with combined plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, the cranial vault asymmetry index improved by 5.77%, cranial vault asymmetry improved by 0.71 cm, whereas the cranial index changed by 5.48%.
Three-dimensional photogrammetry can support treatment control in patients with deformational plagiocephaly. This new technology offers several advantages such as easy acquisition of images, detection of landmarks without patient movement, repeatable measurements without patient discomfort, and the opportunity for unbiased evaluation.
Abbreviations: CVAI, cranial vault asymmetry index; CVA, cranial vault asymmetry; CI, cranial index